Merck Foundation Marks International Day of Girls Women in Science Through Their STEM Program

Merck Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Merck KGaA Germany, marks ‘International Day of Girls and Women in Science 2024’ together with African First Ladies, and their partners like African Ministries of Health, Education, Gender & Information and Academia.Senator, Dr. Rasha Kelej, CEO of Merck Foundation emphasized, “We at Merck Foundation mark ‘International Day of Girls and Women in Science 2024’ by supporting and empowering women in the areas of Science and Technology. Despite the significant strides women have made in their careers, there remains a notable under representation in these areas. We aim to narrow the gender inequality gap and empower women to participate equally in these areas of science and technology.”

Merck Foundation annually launches their MARS Awards to encourage and recognize ‘Best African Women Researchers’ and ‘Best Young African Researcher’. The aim of MARS Awards is to empower women and young African researchers, advance their research capacity and promote their contribution to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics). MARS Awards 2024 have been announced recently in partnership with African Union Scientific Technical Research Commission, International Federation of Fertility Societies -IFFS, Africa Reproductive Care Society – ARCS, and Manipal University, India., with a special focus on: ‘The Role of Scientific Research in Women Health and Reproductive & Fertility Care’.

Senator Dr. Rasha Kelej further emphasized, “In partnership with my dear sisters, African First Ladies, we have been transforming the patient care landscape in Africa by providing medical training to young doctors in many critical medical specialties. Out of the total 1700 scholarships provided, more than 780 scholarships were for women medical graduates. This is close to 45% of the total Merck Foundation Alumni, which is a great milestone for us.”

Merck Foundation also announced the Call for Applications for their prestigious Merck Foundation Africa Research Summit (MARS) Awards 2024.

Watch Merck Foundation Africa Research Summit MARS 2023 Award Ceremony video here:

Merck Foundation strongly believes that Education is one of the most critical areas of women empowerment and serves as the base and key factor in driving an impactful change.

“Together with African First Ladies, we have has contributed to the future of 425 of girls by providing scholarships to continue their education and also providing essential school items for thousands of school girls through our “Educating Linda” program in many African countries such as Burundi, Malawi, Ghana, The Gambia, Nigeria, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Niger and more.

Moreover, we have benefitted 1000’s of girls through our awareness campaign which includes releasing many inspiring children’s storybooks, animation films and songs to support girl education and end child marriage,” shared Senator Kelej.

Additionally, Merck Foundation is adapting their storybooks to create interesting animation films with the purpose of reaching out to the communities to raise awareness on the important supporting girl education and ending child marriage. Watch Ride into the Future Animation Film here:

“We also launch annually Awards of best Media work, Film, Song and Fashion Designs to Support Girl Education and raise awareness on other sensitive social issues,” added Senator Kelej.

Moreover, through their “Our Africa” TV program, Merck Foundation emphasized on the importance supporting girl education through many episodes and has dedicated 3 episodes out of the 15 episodes to this topic. The pan African TV program is conceptualized, produced, directed, and co-hosted by Senator, Dr. Rasha Kelej, CEO of Merck Foundation. The TV program has been broadcasted on National TV Stations of Ghana, Kenya, Uganda, Zambia, Liberia, Sierra Leone, and many other countries.

Watch the one of Episode of “Our Africa by Merck Foundation” TV program on Supporting Girl Education:

Merck Foundation has also released many inspiring songs with African Artists to support girl education.

Merck Foundation has also introduced and launched interesting storybooks for children to underline the importance of girls’ education and enable them to reach their potential in STEM. The storybooks are available in three languages: English, French and Portuguese.

Details for MARS AWARDS 2024Abstracts are invited from final year PhD students, young investigators involved in research and Medical Doctors in Postgraduate Medical Fellowship program related to either of the following topics:

1) Women Health

2) Infertility and Reproductive Care

Applicants should be primarily based at African Research Institutes and Universities, although collaboration within Africa as well as outside is also welcome.

Last Date of Submission: Applications can be submitted till 30th June 2024

How to apply:

Apply online here:

Alternatively, Applications and abstracts can be submitted via email to [email protected] along with CV (including Name, Gender, Country, University/Hospital Name, Email address, Mobile Number) and the abstract document as an attachment.